Is Dumbledore actually Death from the “Tale of the Three Brothers”? Did Gandalf have a secret plan to “fly, you fools!” on the Eagles? Was Jesus Christ actually a Prometheus Engineer?
What are the greatest fan theories in the worlds of Fantasy and Sci-Fi? Better yet, which have been confirmed as canon?
Nerdatron has dutifully compiled the best of the best below … Nerdatron warns SPOILERS AHEAD!
Harry Potter: Dumbledore is Death
You have probably already heard part of this fan/actual theory.
In the final Harry Potter book, we learn about The Tale of the Three Brothers, a wizard fairy tale by Beedle the Bard. The story is about the Peverell Brothers who cheat Death and receive rewards as a result. The rewards are the extremely powerful Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. These three items are often referred to as The Deathly Hallows, hence the name of the final book.
The first part of this fan theory shows that Harry, Snape and Voldemort are actually the three brothers.
Voldemort is the oldest brother, who was murdered in his bed by someone who sought the Elder Wand. Snape is the middle brother, who was driven to suicide after resurrecting the girl “he had once hoped to marry, before her untimely Death.” Harry is the youngest brother, who escapes Death with the cloak until giving it to his son. Afterwards, he greets “Death as an old friend.”
This makes a great deal of sense. Voldermort is undone by the power of the Elder Wand even as he attempts to wield it. Snape ultimately sacrifices himself for Lily Potter, his requited love. Last and perhaps most obvious is Harry. The Invisibility Cloak was actually passed from James Potter to his son, Harry. Also, Harry’s final confrontation with his own death is remarkably brave, even congenial.
But there’s more!
In this scenario, who is Death?
What if it was none other than Dumbledore, himself? Dumbledore’s death was so pivotal – what if Dumbledore IS Death?
How? Dumbledore being Death isn’t something that appears to make a whole lot of sense on the surface, right? Isn’t Dumbledore a hero? And Death the ultimate enemy?
Think about it, though. Dumbledore greeted Harry at King’s Cross. Dumbledore also orchestrated Snape and Voldemort’s deaths. Dumbledore gave Harry the invisibility cloak, too, on behalf of Harry’s father.
Not only that! Longer than anyone else we know of, Dumbledore actually possessed all the deathly hallows: the cloak, the stone, and the wand. Just like Death.
Plus, it’s Dumbledore who greets Harry like an old friend in King’s Cross station, after Harry “dies” at Voldemort’s hands! Wowzers.
But this isn’t just a theory any more … ! Fan Theory Confirmed!
J. K. Rowling actually confirmed this one, more or less:
Dumbledore as death. It’s a beautiful theory and it fits. https://t.co/QqTQm2QnI0
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 21, 2015
How about that??
Now, the greatest Lord of the Rings fan theory …
“Fly, you fools!” – Gandalf’s Secret Plan for the Eagles
Redditor VulcanDeathGrip (probably not a birth name), explains Gandalf’s secret plan to use the eagles. Gandalf was bringing the group to them until things were interrupted when the Fellowship was attacked by the Balrog:
Just before falling with the Balrog, [Gandalf] tries to surreptitiously tell them the secret plan but was too surreptitious and they didn’t understand. When he came back as Gandalf the White he had forgotten many things, including the plan to meet the eagles.
According to the Redditor, Gandalf’s famous line, “Fly, you fools!” is actually him telling the Fellowship to go to the eagles. Then, of course, he forgets the plan and much of his past upon his return.
Here’s a great explanation of the whole idea, plus why it wasn’t such a good idea, i.e. not a Gandalf-worthy idea:
Frodo aka Elijah Wood weighed in on this fan theory recently:
“‘Fly you fools,’ right. I’ve heard this before. So that wasn’t about run away. It was, ‘Get on the eagles, you idiots’? No, I think the plan wasn’t to get them on the eagles because that would’ve been the plan to begin with. No, I think they were meant to go on this journey to walk there, as illogical as that seems, considering the fact that the eagles swoop in at the end,” Wood explained.
“It also wouldn’t make for a very big story,” he continued. “If you’re writing this story to be a grand adventure, it’d be a pretty short book if the eagles just swoop in.”
While talking to HuffPost about his movie, “The Surface,” Sean Astin also weighed in on the theory and even offered an alternative:
“As Sam, I think it’s about time [the eagles] showed up,” said Astin. “As a literary device, I never liked it in The Hobbit when the eagles came and rescued them out of the trees because it just felt like they could whenever they wanted to. But I also have a theory that [the eagles] couldn’t make it that far when Sauron was there. It was only after the destruction of Sauron that, for whatever reason, they were allowed or capable or able.”
This is probably one of the most popular fantasy fan theories ever. In the end, though, it was never confirmed by the author.
Wait! How could J. R. R. Tolkien confirm this theory? He died in 1973. That’s probably what your thinking, right? Neither Tolkien in all his volumes of books and letters, nor his son, Christopher, confirmed this theory.
In fact, as ably explained in the video above, eagles are bearers of ring-bearers would probably be a bad idea. Think: Hitchcock’s The Birds on steroids.
Next up, the coolest fan theory in the Ridley Scott Aliens mythos:
Was one of the Prometheus Engineers Jesus Christ?
Prometheus is loaded with religious symbolism. There’s Shaw’s crucifix, not to mention the whole Creation of life theme. Noticing all this, fans took it a step further: What if Jesus Christ was an Engineer?
In Prometheus we learn that the Engineers, who are powerful, god-like beings, were trying to destroy humanity by using the black goo. Why would the Engineers try to destroy humanity? Especially if one of their number was Jesus?
According to the Prometheus fan theory, the Engineers had decided there was no hope for humanity after humans crucified one of them. One of the Engineers had been sent down to mankind to guide us. This being Jesus Christ.
No way Ridley Scott ever confirmed this, right?
Actually … Fan Theory Confirmed!
When asked if this was something he considered while making Prometheus, Ridley Scott said that he “definitely did.” However, he thought the idea might be a little too on the nose.
Scott then discussed the idea even further, according to WhatCulture:
“But if you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, ‘Let’s send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.’ Guess what? They crucified him.”
Alien began as just a simple alien-exploding-out-of-your-gut horror flick, right? Talk about expanding your myth-arc!
Hold on! Nerdatron is about to make a huge turn from sci-fi horror to one of the great Disney fan theories …
Aladdin: The Peddler was the Genie
“The Peddler” briefly appears at the start of Aladdin. He sets up the film’s story by introducing the magical lamp. The Peddler tells us how the lamp “once changed the course of a young man’s life.”
Fans had assumed for years that the Peddler was, in fact, the Genie. Just in disguise! Given the fact that both characters were voiced by Robin Williams (and were both rather eccentric), this assumption seemed accurate, but with no official confirmation, there was no way to know for sure.
Fan Theory Confirmed! E! News interviewed directors Ron Clements and John Musker in 2015 to celebrate the release of the Aladdin Diamond Edition (ooh!):
“I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie. That’s true! That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie… just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end.”
Clements stated that the Peddler was always intended to be the Genie, and that an in-film revelation was originally planned.
Clements and Musker also addressed whether Aladdin was actually set in a post-apocalyptic future. Also, was the setting Agrabah just an anagram for Baghdad?
According to Musker, composers Howard Ashman and Alan Menken‘s original version had been set in Baghdad, Iraq. “We kept it Baghdad in our first treatment, and then the Gulf War happened—the first Gulf War. Roy Disney said, ‘This can’t be in Baghdad.’ So, I took letters and did a jumbled anagram and came up with Agrabah,” he explained. “We came up with a few alternates. But no, we never thought it was post-apocalyptic, futuristic or in some other time.”
Oh well, Nerdatron is still holding out hope for the post-apocalyptic desert universe mash-up of Aladdin and Mad Max.